Saturday, April 12, 2008

Supper in a Castle

photo by Lisa Jarvis

Yesterday was a dreadful day; it rained for most of the day, often quite hard, and by the evening the burn in the field was in spate. There was water laying on the fields and driving was tricky with sections of road covered in water. We'd left home around 7 p.m. to head the four miles up the valley to Cranshaws Castle; the rain had turned to sleet. We were on our way for supper with friends and were the first to arrive. On a sleety night the temperature barely above freezing makes a whisky taste wonderful, even better for being drunk while standing in front of a huge roaring fire in the second floor hall of this 15th century castle.

It's called a castle but technically it is a fortified tower house, they're called a peel tower in the north of England. It may well have been built by Sir John Swinton, the Earl of Swinton who was a forebear of Tilda Swinton the actress. The tower is unusual in that it has curved corners and although it looks very large from the outside once inside it's much smaller because the walls are five feet thick.

Cranshaws, which is derived from the word Crane, for the bird, interestingly we saw one this morning rise up from the burn when we were walking the dogs, was the site of one of the largest reiving raids in Border history. Over a thousand head of cattle were taken by force. A couple of years ago I found a musket ball when out metal detecting in a field to the south of the castle. It had hit something and I like to think it was fired during this raid.

7 comments:

Selena Dreamy said...

Thanks for sharing. Would be very intrigued to see some interior shots...

D.

Richard Evans said...

What a magnificent place. Cranshaw Castle would suit me down to the ground.

I trust you were sporting your kilt at dinner, Richard.

Richard Havers said...

Selena I'm afraid I don't have any interior shots. Safe to say it's probably just how you would imagine it to look.

jams o donnell said...

A glass of whisky by an open fire... Now that sounds wonderful

Ellee Seymour said...

How fabulous, I wish I had friends who lived in such interesting places.

Trubes said...

That sounds wonderful Richard.
You didn't say what you had for Dinner. Do share! I felt as if I was almost there, after reading your wonderful passage...terrific.

Colin Campbell said...

One of the things that I miss living in Australia is older buildings. One hundred years old is really old here. I wonder how long it takes to heat up a building like that.